For those who are new to STEAM education, STEAM learning is EXCITING for kids! It allows kids to discover how the educational disciplines of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math are interwoven. STEAM activities challenge kids with hands-on opportunities to explore, create, inquire, observe relationships, predict outcomes, and find solutions to problems using interdisciplinary knowledge and critical thinking skills. Wassily Kandinsky’s masterpiece, Squares with Concentric Circles, by name alone, suggests a commonality. When applied to STEAM education, concentric circles provide a perfect analogy to represent how various learning disciplines share common knowledge to enhance educational experiences for kids.
KANDINSKY-INSPIRED WOVEN CONCENTRIC CIRCLES
Objective: to invite kids to explore Kandinsky’s Concentric Circles through physical woven construction and within the framework of STEAM learning.
STEAM Concepts Presented:
Science: The discovery of concentric circles found in our world.
Technology: The use of technology to enhance and document learning.
Engineering: The construction of physical woven concentric circles that exhibit attempts at architecture and engineering.
Arts: Construction of the woven concentric circles that encourage the student artist’s creative expression.
Math: The exploration of lines, patterns, and the construction of concentric circles that share the same center.
Kandinsky Background Information: Show the Power Point (linked here) to the students and invite them to look at the concentric circles painting in the presentation. Ask students about what they find in the painting: What commonalities do they see in the picture? What is different about the circles? Concentric circles share a center point – do the circles in the painting have a common center? What colors did the artist choose for the painting? Remind children that they do not have to like every artwork, but they must always be respectful of the artist.
Invite the students to weave their own concentric circles with Wikki Stix! Weaving the concentric circles is not only a fun way to re-create the painting, but the skills presented in the physical woven construction have been a basis for woven fabric (and other materials) engineering and architecture for thousands of years.
Materials needed: Assorted Colors of Wikki Stix
Directions: Invite the kids to make a star pattern using 4 Wikki Stix (see photo). Using a separate Wikki Stix, have the kids start at the center and then weave the strand over and under each Wikki Stix in the star pattern to form the inner circle. The kids should continue using additional Wikki Stix to weave a concentric circle pattern around the center until the circle is the desired size. When finished weaving, kids can simply tuck any length of Wikki Stix remaining behind the circular design. Wikki Stix will adhere behind the constructed circles without the need for glue or tape. As the kids finish their woven concentric circles, the circles can be mounted on heavy paper (or strung from the ceiling) and displayed at home or in the classroom.
Extension Activities with Concentric Circles
Invite kids to experiment and look for concentric circles found in their world. When kids are aware and begin looking, they will find concentric circles are everywhere! Some examples: CD’s, the Target store Logo, archery or other targets with a common center, ripples made in the water after tossing a pebble, the growth rings in a tree, an onion’s rings, circular patterns on a peacock’s feathers, patterns on a butterfly’s wings, the hubcap on a wheel, the human eye, Saturn’s rings, hurricanes, tornadoes, and rings made from various light sources (such as a flashlight).
Digital Documentation of Learning
Have the kids take photos of their Wikki Stix artwork, concentric rings they find on field trips, in nature, in the classroom, at home, on a walk, or in the night sky! To create the trailer shown, our kids took digital photos and loaded them into an iMovie Trailer template. The kids had great FUN, but they also gained awesome technology skills along the way!
Concentric circles occur often enough in our world to rule out possibilities of coincidence. When kids are exposed to the concept of concentric circles through STEAM learning, they gain knowledge to begin formulating ideas about how their everyday world is connected to a larger universe.
For more STEAM Education Ideas with Wikki Stix, please visit: